Growing up in Los Angeles, my favorite Dodger was never anyone on the field. The guys on the field constantly changed. Injuries or slumps sometimes kept them out of the lineup. Trades and free agency changed the makeup of the team.
But one thing was always constant: Vin Scully. Vin Scully was Dodger baseball. Vin Scully is Dodger baseball.
“Hi everybody and a very pleasant good evening to you wherever you may be.”
Scully began every broadcast with those 14 words. Almost comforting, those 14 words let Dodger fans know they were safe. Nothing else mattered for the next three hours. All you had to do was sit back and listen. Let Vin take you on a journey.
Many things made Vin so special. His voice, his knowledge, his stories. The way he effortlessly told a story while calling balls and strikes. The way he knew when to speak, and, more importantly, when to let the game and the crowd speak for themselves.
Scully began broadcasting when he was 22 years old — my age now.
One thing that stood out to me as a young Dodger fan was how important it was for Dodger fans to listen to Scully. If you went to a Dodger game at any point throughout his career — any city, any stadium, any year — Scully’s voice echoed throughout the stadium. Hundreds, even thousands of fans brought transistor radios to the game, because truly nothing was better than hearing Vin call a game.
Another thing that stood out to me, that I didn’t understand until I was older, is for a great part of his career, Scully called Dodger games alone. For so long, I thought that was the norm — one guy calling the game. It wasn’t until I got older I realized that didn’t happen anywhere else.
Football, basketball, hockey, baseball. Always two people. Sometimes three. But never just one person talking for three or more hours. No one could do it like Vin.
I almost feel too young to eulogize a man like Vin Scully. I never met Scully, although it felt like I knew him, as his voice echoed throughout my living room every night for the first 16 years of my life. But as a young Dodger fan, I didn’t hear some of his most famous calls in some of the biggest moments in Dodger, baseball, and even sports history.
I didn’t get to hear him call Kirk Gibson’s pinch-hit walk-off home run in the 1988 World Series — “In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened.” I didn’t hear the call of Sandy Koufax’s perfect game in 1965. Or when Vin told fans to “throw their sombreros in the sky” after Fernando Valenzuela’s perfect game in 1990.
I didn’t hear the call when Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run, and passed Babe Ruth on the all-time list. Or when Joe Montana hit Dwight Clark in the back of the end zone to beat the Cowboys, a marker for the beginning of the 49ers’ dynasty.
Vin Scully’s voice almost went hand-in-hand with some of the biggest moments in sports history.
But I didn’t know him that way. I didn’t know him as the youngest broadcaster to call a World Series. Or the guy who was calling NFL playoff games.
For me, Vin Scully was Dodger baseball.
When the clock struck 7:10 pm, I knew it was time for Vin Scully. Or as he would begin every broadcast, “It’s time for Dodger baseball.”
Scully’s final call came in the same stadium the Dodgers played the night he passed. He said to the fans on Oct. 2, 2016, from San Francisco: “May God give you, for every storm, a rainbow; for every tear, a smile; for every care, a promise; and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life seems, a faithful friend to share; for every sigh, a sweet song, and an answer for each prayer.
“You and I have been friends for a long time, but I know, in my heart, I’ve always needed you more than you’ve ever needed me, and I’ll miss our time together more than I can say. But, you know what, there will be a new day, and, eventually, a new year, and when the upcoming winter gives way to spring, ooh, rest assured, once again, it will be time for Dodger baseball. So, this is Vin Scully wishing you a pleasant good afternoon, wherever you may be.”
Rest in Peace to the greatest broadcaster of all time.